Book Title: The Good, The Messy, and the Beautiful
Authors: Dr. Edward and Beth Sri
Who Should Read It?
This book is great for engaged or married couples who want to learn from the experience of a couple married over 20 years. It’s written from the co-authors’ (Edward and Beth) personal perspective and feels like you are engaging in an open, honest, and thoughtful conversation with them about different aspects of marriage.
“God wants to meet us in the messiness of ordinary married life.”
What You’ll Learn:
- How to determine if you’re being unrealistic about what marriage is and how it will benefit your life.
- The Catholic definition of love.
- The real power of the sacrament of Matrimony.
- What married life looks like in everyday life.
- How your selfishness will affect your marriage.
- How to recognize true intimacy and encourage its growth.
- What Christ can teach you about himself through your marriage.
Why is It relevant?
Edward and Beth have communicated some of the simplest yet profound aspects of the marital relationship, things that couples who discover them know by intuition yet struggle to work into everyday conversation with other couples. This insight comes from a combination of their education, devotion, and circumstances, along with a keen observance of their own human natures and their response to God’s grace.
The book is a dialogue that Catholic couples in all stages of relationships should be having, and it will provide plenty of fuel for growth-inspiring conversations between couples who read and contemplate it together.
“Only God can take us to that next level of union and love called marriage.”
How Does the Authors’ Insight Illuminate the Topic?
Honest – Edward relates personal stories with openness and accepts responsibility for his role in the marriage. His revelations offer hope, not shame, and he positions himself as a student, always learning.
“I realized that the main way I help Beth get to heaven has little to do with my high ideals of being a great Catholic husband and spiritual leader of the home. The main way I actually help Beth get to heaven is this: every day of her life, Beth has to deal with me!”
Realistic – Beth doesn’t shy away from talking about the hard aspects of mothering, the never-ending piles of laundry and wearisome moments with crying or vomiting children, but she doesn’t leave the reader there. After courageously sharing those and other difficult aspects of motherhood and marriage, she guides the conversation back to Jesus.
“… when I die to my personal comfort, interests, and desires in order to give myself away in love to my spouse and children, I don’t lose in the end. My life is more deeply enriched. I am learning to love like Christ loves.”
If You Only Read One Chapter:
Chapter 13 – First Things First: Giving Your Best to Your Vocation
The Heart of the Matter:
Even after nearly 27 years of marriage, I was reminded while reading The Good, the Messy, and the Beautiful that my husband and I are still continuing to grow in our ability to love one another like Jesus loves.
My biggest takeaway was tucked away in the book’s conclusion: there is a font of grace available to married couples.
Like the Sri’s, my husband and I have been purified through many challenges over the years, and we know there are many more to come. The purification process has made our marriage strong, forged a loyal friendship, and enabled trust-filled intimacy. However, there are still impurities that need to rise to the surface and be scraped away. The work of God’s grace in our marriage is ongoing, and receiving it will enable us to love more, give more, share more.
I’m grateful to the Sri’s for reminding me of Christ’s active presence in our marriage, and I believe this book is a valuable tool for building a strong understanding of the realities and beauty of marriage in any stage of life.
“By freely choosing to give up our freedom to do whatever we want, we discover an even greater freedom: the freedom to love.”